|Tran Van Quyen (Foreground) from the Military team finishes first after the Thanh Hoa-Nghe An stage of the HCMC TV Cup 2010 in a time of 3 hours 12’30’’ (Photo: SGGP)|
The cyclists began their race about an hour later than expected and soon found themselves unable to see more 10 meters ahead due to fog.
A group of motorbikes in charge of clearing a path for the cyclists made little headway in disbursing vehicles along the route.
A few bold athletes, however, decided to make a break despite the heavy congestion. Biker Mai Nguyen Hung from the BVTV SG 1 team led a small pack away from the gridlock and the group eventually managed to gain 40 kilometers on their competitors.
A domino effect was created after the first group broke away, with other teams like ADC Vinh Long TV, Mongol and Domesco Dong Thap catching the former race leaders at around 30 kilometers from the finish line.
Competitive spirits ran high as the bikers raced toward the end of the leg, but it was cyclist Tran Van Quyen from the Military team who stood out in particular.
Finishing the race in a time of 3 hours 12’30’’ put Quyen in top position of the competition’s third leg. The runner-up and second runner-up positions respectively went to Mongolian Tuguldur Tuulkhangai with a time of 3 hours 12’34’’ and Mai Nguyen Hung with a time of 3 hours 12’35.’’
Biker Bui Minh Thuy from the ADC Vinh Long TV team, the winner of the two previous stages at Hoan Kiem Lake and Hanoi-Thanh Hoa, was unable to finish in the top three this leg, but still holds the overall top spot so far with a total time of 7 hours 49’13.’’ He is followed by Tuguldur Tuulkhangai (7 hours 49’15’’) and Quyen (7 hours 49’33’’).
In the team category, ADC Vinh Long is holding first place, followed by Mongol and BVTV Saigon 1.
The results so far do not come as a surprise for fans and those who have watched the cup since its early beginnings. ADC Vinh Long came well-prepared for the Cup and has impressed everyone with their professionalism throughout the race.
According to reports, team leaders spent around US$50,000 on equipment for their athletes and even added two professional cyclists from Japan to the team for the Cup.
The HCMC TV Cup 2010, also known as “From Thang Long to the South,” is an annual, international cycling competition divided into 17 stages across the country.
There are 13 local and one foreign team competing in this year’s event, which kicked off April 10 at Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi. The Cup’s last stage takes place from the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho to Ho Chi Minh City, and will finish on April 30.
The solo competitor with the best overall time will receive VND40 million (US$2,050) while the winning team will receive VND50 million ($2,560). Other cash prizes will also be awarded for best hill-climber ($1,280); athlete with the most stage victories ($1,020); best young biker ($510); and team demonstrating the best sportsmanship ($1,020).